The urge to categorise our music into nice, easy-to-understand compartments can be hard for metal fans to resist. Sometimes, however, we have to admit defeat and accept that some bands fall outside convenient definitions. Like Mastodon or Baroness, Torche may broadly have come out of the sludge bracket, but their own style is too intentionally idiosyncratic for that definition to suffice.
In Torche’s case, it’s best just to skip the labels (although their own “thunderpop” description is fairly apt). They certainly do, and it gives them a creative freedom more generic bands do not allow themselves./o:p
“That’s a giant perk for me being in the band, not worrying about ‘Are we this enough or that enough?’” says bassist Jonathan Nuñez. “Our sound varies, there’s quite a wide spectrum, but there’s also a consistent sound, tone and feel that’s identifiable. You can put on a record and the moods are going to take you from one place to another, shift rhythmically, tonally, sonically, but in the end there’s a consistent identity as us. I couldn’t imagine writing a record that’s one way all the way through.”
The Americans are about to release fourth album Restarter, a darker, more aggressive follow-up to 2012’s Harmonicraft. They are at the stage of their career (four albums and a decade in, not counting frontman Steve Brooks’s decade in stoner metal band Floor, prior to Torche’s inception) where they now know what they are doing, not searching for an identity or a method that works. That said, they don’t consider their learning concluded.
“You learn stuff as you go; you’re exposed to new music, new art and new things through travelling – even playing different songs on different days, giving you different feelings, different moods. But we were pretty much set in the way we write our records,” says Jonathan. “A lot of it is just showing up and playing together, see where the riff takes you, see what everybody adds to it, and in the end the song kinda writes itself, in a sense. Before you know it, there’s a song.”
Given that this is Torche speaking, that will be an insanely catchy song with big, fuzzy riffs. Result.
RESTARTER IS OUT NOW VIA RELAPSE/o:p